Isaiah 53:9 “And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.”
Good Friday marks the day that Jesus, the promised Messiah would come and die for the sins of mankind. The glory of the Lord took on human flesh and in humility died that we might have life forevermore.
Praise be to God, the grave could not hold Him!
No other event in history is as important as this single moment was so long ago. A culmination of thousands of years of looking forward to a coming King prophetically was fulfilled by Christ, the Lamb of God. Jesus had given ample warning of His impending death, both prophetically and while He walked among the disciples. Nearly 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah the prophet declared what was to be.
Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.“
Jesus also confirmed that He was the Messiah and prophesied His death…
Mark 9:31-32 “For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.” But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.”
The impending crucifixion that Isaiah prophesied and Jesus confirmed was traumatic for those who walked with Him. The devastation surrounding such a violent death coupled with the speed by which it occurred must have been shocking to those who believed Jesus would lead a revolt against tyranny in Israel.
Little did the disciples understand concerning Jesus’ death, having believed Him when He said He was the Messiah, the understanding of what the Messiah’s mission was eluded their darkened hearts.
Confusion and Darkness
Matthew 27:45 “Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.”
The darkness that covered the land during Jesus’ crucifixion was symbolically representative of the confusion and lack of understanding as to why God had to bear the penalty for our sin.
How do we know what was in the minds of those faithful followers of Christ?
When Jesus was arrested the response revealed their hearts:
Mark 14:46-50 “Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”Then they all forsook Him and fled.
The fear that seized the disciples minds was for lack of understanding. If they had known that Jesus had come to die, they would have seen God’s plan working out just as had been predicted. The desire to preserve one’s own life was a natural response for those who claim to follow Christ but lack the power to see it through. So many today lay claim to the title as christian, a name that implies an affinity to Christ but their lives deny their declaration. The disciples undoubtedly were sincere in their initial betrothal as the bride of Christ but their commitment was delayed until they were endowed with the Spirit of God.
John 20:19 “Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
The peace that Jesus brought was more than a quieting of the soul, it was a necessary spiritual ingredient for unity of the body.
The term for peace is eiréné and implies wholeness, as when all essential parts are joined together and peace is what follows. The glue that holds the church together arrived in their midst, Jesus appeared and united them as one.
Moving from a position of fear to one of boldness requires a radical transformation, a change in thinking, or a mindset that is redirected toward a point of surety and soundness. Everything the disciples thought they knew was transformed before their eyes but it wasn’t until the power of God filled their lives when the fear dissipated and the church was finally born.
Acts 4:31 “After they had prayed, their meeting place was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
*The weak become strong when the Spirit of God fills the heart.
When all seems lost and the world around you becomes dark and foreboding, it is the light of hope in Christ that brings peace with a knowledge that God’s plan can never be thwarted.
Where is your Peace?
Do you feel anxious today? Had your world been turned upside down by what seems like a random series of events?
The peace of this world is fleeting. What can the world provide that truly satisfies? Money, power, position, all of these can be lost in the blink of an eye, just look at Job, he lost everything in a moment.
The peace that Jesus brings is the one that brings unity between you and God.
When you understand what God’s plan is in regards to your life, you become unified in purpose and supported by His power.
He leads–you follow. He doesn’t leave you abandoned, He never has and never will. When you think you are all alone and all is lost, He reminds you that everything is going to plan. What seems like a dismal outlook for the future is actually the process God is using to complete His work in you.
The path God takes us on may not seem pleasant at the moment but the completion of the journey is only part of what He will accomplish. As we learn to appreciate the journey, we eventually will see the value in where and how He is leading. We can’t always change our circumstances but we can change how we respond in the midst of them. We can’t change others but we can change ourselves.
What is it about good Friday that brings hope?
Matthew 28:6 “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”
The grave where Jesus laid is now empty. Victory has been won, the war is over. We need not fear death because Jesus has conquered it.
We will see the Son arise in our lives as well, both now and yet to come. The darkness we see around us is but for a moment, the joy that we taste now will be for a lifetime.
Don’t let the darkness overtake you, don’t be fooled by the dismal sense that this world presents, remember the promises that Jesus gave and wait for Him….He’s Coming again.